Outlaws’ Kolton Wall diagnosed with torn ACL
By John Roark
For the time being, Rawlins High School has lost one of its returning standout athletes.
Outlaws’ boys’ basketball coach Denver Allard confirmed
Wednesday that senior Kolton Wall, seeking a second medical opinion, had the worst fears realized Monday: a torn ACL in his knee.
Wall is a two-year starter for RHS’s boys’ basketball team and last year was part of a record-setting season for Corey Wheeler’s Outlaws’ football team.
Wall injured his knee two weeks ago during a team camp at Cheyenne South. Initial X-ray results indicated a tear in the knee.
Allard said Wall and his parents sought a second opinion Monday afternoon, when the ACL tear was confirmed. The coach said that surgery was being planned “as soon as possible.”
Surgery recovery windows range from six months to a year. For certain, Wall won’t be able to participate during football season, nor will he be able to begin workouts with the Outlaws’ basketball team in November.
With last season’s promotion of Wheeler to head football coach, Wall was one of several athletes expected to give varsity football a chance.
Wall became one of several targets for record-setting quarterback Jace Allard. Wall caught 14 passes for 160 yards, three touchdowns and a two-point conversion.
On defense, Wall came up with 27 tackles, including 17 solo hits. Wall picked off two interceptions, recovered a fumble and broke up a pass.
Basketball, though, is Wall’s calling card. At 6-foot-6, the Outlaws’ big man has steadily improved since becoming a sophomore starter for D. Allard.
In 2012-13, his last basket of the season — during the Class 3A state tournament’s consolation championship game — gave Wall exactly a 10 points-per-game average.
As a junior, Wall averaged 11.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots for RHS, which finished 21-5 and in third place during March’s Class 3A state tournament.
- Allard said the Outlaws’ top returning post player won’t be able to play during the early stages of the season.
“In my eyes, Kolton is one of the best players returning on the East side,” D. Allard said. “Consistent scoring, rebounding and defense are all strengths in his game.”
RHS’s program has already taken a hit with graduation. Two starters — leading scorer and Wyoming Player of the Year Jalen Krening and Kody Palmer — plus top reserve Isaac Jefferson have moved on to the college ranks.
Wall’s early-season absence (at best) means chances for others to earn playing time.
“If we are without Kolton for a period of time — and that looks to be the case — it just gives others opportunities,” D. Allard said. “I know we have the depth and talent to still have a successful season.”
- Allard “specifically” expects post players such as senior Ben McFarland, sophomore Malakai Olson and senior Austin Tarango to compete for the available playing time.
“They are going to play lots and I’m confident in what those guys can do for us,” D. Allard said. “We were already planning and hoping to be 10-plus deep, so that type of luxury helps us in instances like this.”
The Outlaws’ coach said Wall’s injury also allowed for some tinkering of Rawlins’ lineup, depending on game circumstances.
“With the uncertainty of Kolton this season we are fortunate enough to have depth at that position,” D. Allard said. “We should have flexibility with our lineup. We can play either big or small.”
Wall has been involved in three trips to the state finals. For certain, D. Allard would like to add a fourth run to Casper in as many years.
Wall’s knee tear is the second such ACL injury to impact an RHS basketball program in recent years.
During the 2013-14 school year, then-Lady Outlaws All-State standout Kalli Feddersen tore an ACL prior following volleyball season, thereby missing her senior campaign.
Fully recovered, Feddersen’s now a sophomore member of the Western Nebraska Community College basketball program.
Though the timetable for Wall’s return has yet to be set, D. Allard says he’s confident that his big guy’s days as an Outlaw are far from over.
“Kolton is a hard worker and very determined,” D. Allard said. “I fully expect to have the pleasure of coaching Kolton again at some point next season. How much he can contribute is to be determined down the road.”
As with basketball, Wheeler said not having Wall on the gridiron this fall means a chance for someone else.
"Injuries happen," Wheeler said via text message. "It'll be a loss not having him out there this fall. We'll miss him, but it's a 'next guy up' philosophy for us."